The San Francisco Giants are fresh off a world series victory and about to lose their starting shortstop Juan Uribe, to the Los Angeles Dodgers as sources are now reporting that he is close to signing a three-year deal with them. The Giants will be in desperate need for someone to fill his void, with no one in the system capable of putting up the numbers that he did—Emmanuel Burriss and Eugenio Velez have shown nothing but ineptitude.
Mike Fontenot is a player who could perhaps fill the void, but he is more suited for a platoon and fill-in role, as he is more experienced, and is a better contact hitter than some of the free-swinging Giants. It is because of this that the Giants should look to the free agent market to land themselves a shortstop, and the one player out there who is drawing attention almost daily in the papers, is Derek Jeter, who is frozen in contract negotiations with the New York Yankees.
Jeter, 36, is rumored to be seeking a six-year deal worth ~$150 million, a contract which would bring him to age 42 and pay him $25 million a season. The Yankees maintain that they will not budge from their first and only offer so far of three-years, $45 million, a deal that will pay the aging star a more realistic number. Is Jeter worth what he is seeking? Absolutely not, if you are looking at what he can provide from here on out. But if you want to look to the past and thank the player that has led this team to five World Series Championships, made the All-Star team eleven times, and all while keeping his reputation spotlessly clean with the media, then he is worth that much. One could make the argument that had George Steinbrunner still been alive, none of this would be happening, but he isn’t, and now the career-Yankee, and first ballot hall-of-famer, who will achieve his 3000th hit this season, barring injury, is standing at an impasse with the most powerful team in baseball.
It is because of this that the Giants should make him an offer. Perhaps if he does not get what he is looking for from the Yankees, he would take a smaller deal elsewhere. I would suggest something along the lines of three-years, $60 million. An amount offering to pay him more than the Yankees, but still keeping the years at a realistic number. Jeter’s play dropped off dramatically this season—his average fell more than 60 points, his hits went from 212 to 179, homeruns from 18 to 10, and strikeouts rose from 90 to 106. His numbers were not bad, by any means, but it has obviously caused some concern with Yankee brass.
If the Giants were to sign Jeter, they would have some veteran stability in the infield, something that they sorely needed on the left side of second base last season. As good and clutch as Uribe was—hitting 24 homeruns and driving in 85—he was a defensive liability (as is Sandoval). Jeter’s defense may not be Gold Glove-caliber anymore, despite winning the award this season, but his range is definitely greater than that of Uribe, and he will provide something much more valuable than anyone on this current roster, and that is patience at the plate.
People often wonder why Yankee games last three hours, and that is because they know how to hit. They take bad pitches and force the pitcher to throw strikes, something the Giants have not done since the Barry Bonds-led years in the mid-2000′s. Uribe and Sandoval led the way in free-swinging. It has it benefits, such as Uribe swinging so hard he would almost fall over, guaranteeing that if he made contact, the ball would leave the yard, but much too often he found himself striking out or hitting into a double play. This is something that plagued the Giants heavily, and was the main reason why it took this team until the final game of the regular season to clinch a playoff spot.
I do not think it is realistic that the Giants will get Jeter; for the most part, this is just thinking out-loud. I believe that Derek Jeter will be a career-Yankee, something that fans have been wanting for essentially his entire career. But if these negotiations keep on dragging, and it does not look like a deal is in place, then the Giants should field him an offer. After all, if he signs in San Francisco he would not be labeled a traitor. The Giants and Yankees are not rivals, nor do they regularly even play each other. If he is going to leave New York, than the Golden State is one place he could go.